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Educational Exchanges as a Catalyst for Stronger China-Canada Relations

June 23, 2016 2:00 am
Educational Exchanges as a Catalyst for Stronger China-Canada Relations

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock. 

The 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Canada in 1970 have witnessed steady progress and growth of the bilateral relations and cooperation in all areas. China-Canada educational exchanges and cooperation, like those in other fields, have also grown in depth and width, from exchange of scholars and students, training of teachers in the early years following the diplomatic engagement, to curriculum development, joint research, joint PhD programmes, and co-hosting of international conferences. The two-way interflow has served to enhance mutual understanding between the education authorities and academia of the two countries and improve the academic standards, and level of scientific research and education administration of both sides.

In 1973, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Education of China and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada on the China-Canada Scholars’ Exchange Programme (CCSEP) was signed in Beijing. It was the result of an undertaking by then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. In the same year, the first group of nine Chinese scholars and students under the CCSEP left home for Canada in pursuit of more knowledge in the host country, thus starting the interflow of scholars and students between the two countries.

The CCSEP is the most important government-sponsored scholars and students’ exchange programme between China and Canada. Since its launch the programme has sponsored over 1,000 Chinese and Canadian students and scholars for their pursuit of research in humanities and social sciences in the host country. Among them, to name just a few, are former Chinese ambassadors to Canada Lu Shumin and Lan Lijun, former Chinese UNESCO ambassador Zhang Xuezhong, Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Susan Gregson, former minister of the Canadian Embassy in China Sarah Taylor, and Vice-President of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Paul Brennan. The CCSEP is the longest-standing, most influential and highest-level exchange programme between China and Canada for personnel exchange and training.

In 1983, the Chinese and Canadian governments signed a China Aid Programme funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The educational cooperation projects under CIDA China Aid Programme have played a positive role in China’s higher education reform and development. These projects include the China-Canada Management Education Programme 1983-1996 (CCMEP), the China-Canada University Linkage Programme 19881995 (CCULP), the Special University Linkage Consolidation Programme1996- 2001 (SULCP), and Strengthening Capacity in Basic Education in Western China 2002-2007.

Specially designed to cater to the needs of China’s higher education development with focus on capacity-building, the CIDA programmes and projects have achieved remarkable results in respect of curriculum development, personnel training and joint scientific research.

Over half of Canadian universities were committed and involved in the CIDA education-related programmes to develop cooperation with Chinese universities. These programmes have facilitated exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Canadian higher-education institutions. They have also contributed to the internationalisation of Chinese higher education institutions. China’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme, its first Master of Public Administration (MPA) programme and the development and improvement of disciplines in medicine, environment, agriculture, nursing and others are, in fact, practical outcome of the China-Canada higher education cooperation.

In 2005, the Chinese Ministry of Education and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada signed a MOU on Scientific and Technical Cooperation and Personnel Training in Agriculture. Over the past decade, over 400 Chinese PhD candidates and researchers from 40 Chinese higher education and research institutions came to Canada and pursued joint scientific research in a dozen of specific fields at 15 research centres or laboratories under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. More than 100 Canadian agricultural scientists provided supervision and guidance to the Chinese PhD candidates, and participated in the joint research. Over 260 Chinese PhD candidates under the joint doctoral programmes have completed their planned research and studies, and returned to China. The Chinese and Canadian researchers have published over 1,000 co-authored publications in international academic journals.

In 2006, the Chinese Ministry of Education signed separate personnel training cooperation agreements with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the
National Research Council of Canada (NRC). The agreements provided a framework for Chinese students of high academic merit to pursue PhD research at Canadian universities with sponsorships jointly provided by the China Scholarship Council and the Canadian institutions.

In July 2005, the first Confucius Institute in Canada was inaugurated at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver. There are now 12 Confucius Institutes and 18 Confucius Classrooms in Canada. The Confucius Institutes operate on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. A Confucius Institute may be established in Canada upon the Confucius Institute Headquarters’ approval of a joint application submitted by a Canadian host institution and its Chinese partner institution.

Over the past ten years, the Confucius Institutes/Classrooms in Canada have been geared towards Canadian students and general public.Apart from providing courses on Chinese language and culture, they have organized a variety of activities for students to gain first-hand experience of Chinese culture.They have also held academic seminars and workshops on China-related topics. While contributing to multiculturalism in the host country, they have also played a positive role in promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Canada and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

In 2010, the Chinese Ministry of Education and the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) held their First High-Level Consultation on Education Collaboration, and reached broad consensus on all-round collaboration in education.Two more rounds of the High-Level Consultation have been held since.The High-Level Consultation has led to a variety of projects of educational cooperation between provinces and universities of the two countries, ranging from the exchange of university faculty and students, joint operation of education institutions, joint research to cohosting of academic seminars and workshops.

As of now, 640 cooperation agreements have been concluded between universities and education institutions of the two countries,with 75 education institutions and programmes jointly established and operated by Chinese and Canadian partners.

The University of Alberta has developed extensive exchanges and cooperation with Chinese universities and education institutions. The university now hosts nearly 5,000 Chinese students. As of now, its professors and their peers of Chinese universities co-authored a total of 3,615 papers. Since 2011, UAlberta, with funding of the China Scholarship Council, has provided professional development courses for 200 education administrators from 70 Chinese universities through its Global Academic Leadership Development Programme.

As of the end of 2013, the Chinese Ministry of Education had concluded agreements on mutual recognition of academic degrees and credentials with the education authorities of 10 Canadian provinces, and signed MOUs on educational exchange and cooperation with Quebec,Alberta and British Columbia. All this formed a solid foundation for educational co-operation between China and Canada.

On 17 October 2015, the Shanghai-Ottawa Joint School of Medicine welcomed its first batch of 56 students with a white coat ceremony, where teachers and veteran medical professionals formally dressed medical students in white coats, the garb traditionally considered a symbol of purity, compassion and devotion, and where medical students publicly affirmed their commitment to medical professionalism and mandate to preserve life and serve patients with dedication.

The Shanghai-Ottawa Joint School of Medicine is jointly established by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. As of now, it is the first and only Chinese-foreign joint undergraduate clinical medical education institution approved by China’s Ministry of Education.

According to the latest statistics of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE),China is the number one country of origin for international students in Canada. In 2014, students from China made up 32.96 per cent of the international student population in Canada, totalling 110,918 while the number of Canadian students in China stood at 3,271.

In 2015, with a view to encouraging more students to study in China, the University of Alberta proposed a Canada Learning in China Initiative, a credit-gaining programme, to be jointly sponsored by participating Canadian universities, Chinese Ministry of Education and Chinese higher education institutions. In 2016, the first cohort of 200 Canadian undergraduate students are expected to start their study in China.

The extensive and wide-ranging educational exchanges between China and Canada are of far-reaching significance. The exchanges of students and scholars and cooperation in scientific research have served to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, and acted as catalyst for further development of China-Canada relations.

Business with H’Art

June 22, 2016 3:15 pm
Business with H’Art

All photos courtesy of No Hands.

H’Art of Ottawa art studio chosen for McMillan’s Betterful initiatives

It’s not too common for businesses to give away their services for free, but maybe it should happen more often; that’s what H’Art of Ottawa’s executive director Lin Rowsell thinks. H’Art is a longstanding artist’s studio that fosters the creative processes of adults with developmental disabilities. They support just under 50 artists who come to the studio weekly to work on their paintings and their creative writing.

“They’re artists more than they are people with developmental disabilities,” said Rowsell. Thanks to H’Art, these artists have their paintings exhibited and sold in galleries all around Ottawa, and have been showcased in over 70 different art shows over the last 14 years. H’Art also organizes collaborations with local artists, ensuring that its artists have an active role in Ottawa’s creative community.

JK_McM_H'ART_00048H’Art is now at a point where they feel the need to adapt to the growth of its organization. That’s why McMillan decided on the H’Art gallery as the chosen charity for their first annual Betterful campaign, an initiative in which the creative B2B agency offers a free and complete rebranding of a local charity in need of a marketing revamp.

“We’re treating this like any big corporate account, with the same processes and same level of resources being expended, except here, no one is getting an invoice,” said Megan Findlay of McMillan.

Findlay said that when the Betterful campaign was first announced, they were expecting maybe four or five organizations to apply, but when they received nearly 30 applications, they were blown away by every single one.

“In choosing between all those amazing choices, the condition was to choose the organization that stands to gain the most from the rebrand. And really, we had no bias when deciding between what kind of charities, so it took a lot of soul-searching, but we were really happy that we decided on H’Art,” said Findlay.

Rowsell explained the impact that H’Art has had on those it helps. She told a story of a 48-year-old man who had been hospitalized, medicated, and who suffered from great anxiety due to his condition. As a last ditch effort to help her son, his mother brought him to the H’Art of Ottawa gallery. At first, he was reticent, not having ever painting before in his life. Now, Rowsell refers to him as her ‘Van Gogh,’ full of passion and talent, and says that his painting has kept him off medication and out of the hospital.

“It transformed his life, it gave him focus and passion, we all need and want that, passion in our lives, and to be doing something we love, it’s pretty powerful when we find that,” said Rowsell. She added that people from such marginalized communities often don’t get the opportunity to explore their passions because of misconceptions about their abilities. Their organization isn’t a program to teach people art, but rather a means to give real artists the opportunity to practice their craft, an opportunity that they most likely wouldn’t be given otherwise.


So now, with the Betterful campaign focused on H’Art this year, the two parties are involved in what Findlay called the “discovery stage,” where both McMillan and H’Art will figure out exactly how to express who H’Art is, what they do, and how they want to move forward. Rowsell already has some plans. She’s looking to move to a storefront gallery, where the H’Art artists will all be able to showcase their work, and to sell their pieces in Ottawa’s core neighbourhoods.

McMillan argues that branding for a charitable organization is just as important as it is for a business. In having a consistent message, logo, and memorable story to present to the community, a rebranding can create the impact needed to gain more support from community and businesses, which in turn will foster the growth that an organization both needs and deserves.

“It’s validating that McMillan sees us as deserving, and it goes beyond our community. They’re validating that all these people are real artists with that kind of exposure. They’re not doing it out of charity, but they have great respect for our artists because they’re artists too, so its like equals working with equals,” said Rowsell.

By simply lending their expertise to people who do good work, Betterful will provide a change that will last for H’Art of Ottawa, so that they can provide the necessary changes for those that are sometimes forgotten. Rowsell proposed a challenge to other companies, saying that they should follow McMillan’s lead, using Betterful as an example of how to integrate community building into their business.

If you want to follow the progress, check out McMillan’s blog.

If you want to sign up for Betterful next year, go to their website and sign up for updates to know when the next round will open.

Bring on the Bajans

2:00 pm
Bring on the Bajans
Camera: DCS660C Serial #: K660C-01165 Width: 3040 Height: 2008 Date: 15/10/01 Time: 6:30:33 DCS6XX Image FW Ver: 3.2.3 TIFF Image Look: Product Sharpening Requested:Yes (Preferences) Tagged Counter: [438] Shutter: 1/60 Aperture: f7.1 ISO Speed: 80 Max Aperture: f3.5 Min Aperture: f22 Focal Length: 28 Exposure Mode: Shutter priority AE (S) Meter Mode: Color Matrix Drive Mode: Continuous Low (CL) Focus Mode: Single (AF-S) Focus Point: Center Flash Mode: Normal Sync Compensation: +0.0 Flash Compensation: +0.0 Self Timer Time: 10s White balance: Auto Time: 06:30:33.331

Crane Beach, Barbados –  Photos courtesy Visit Barbados

It’s never too late for a southern getaway. The year 2016 marks Barbados 50th anniversary of independence from Britain and while any time is a good time to go, 2016 will prove to be a stellar year to experience all the island has to offer, which is a lot. There is always something going on here culturally and since it is not a large island (it runs about 35 km in length and about 22 km in width), you are just a drive away from being part of the fun.

History and Geography

With the third oldest Parliament in the world with uninterrupted parliamentary governance since 1639, Barbados is an economically and politically stable country. It has one of the highest per capital incomes in the Caribbean (in large part thanks to tourism and offshore banking.) There are over 2.8 million people who live here and the country has a literacy rate of almost 99 per cent, which is one of the highest rates in the world. There is a fantastic hospitable feel everywhere that comes with all that stability. Take advantage of it and rent a car to explore because there are different vibes to the various areas on the island. (The country is divided into 11 areas, or “parishes”).

The West Coast of Barbados is known as the Platinum Coast not just because of its incredible beaches and crystal clear water, but because of the wealth. (Pop star Rihanna (who hails from Barbados) owns a home there, Tiger Woods was married nearby.) Expensive resorts are everywhere with a designer shop complex (Lime Grove) with all of the big names in couture. There is also a lot of history on the West Coast. Holetown was the first settlement in Barbados and if you head to there in mid-February, the Holetown Festival takes place. You can sample local foods and experience a Gospel Explosion. Given Barbados is a religious country (there are over 100 religious groups operating in Barbados), this is a spiritual extravaganza.

There are Great festivals throughout the year. The Barbados Wine, Food and Rum Festival is a growing and fairly new annual event. It takes place in November year and attracts top chefs from around the world and events are held in various locations throughout the island, an added bonus. November 2015 featured among others, celebrity chefs Craig Harding of Toronto and American star chef Chris Cosentino. The event in 2016 precedes the actual 50th anniversary date of November 30, so November 2016 will be a fantastic time to visit Barbados.

While still on the West Side, you may see yellow buses driving by that look like open-air party buses as they blare reggae music. Try and fit in a ride on one of them. It is an unparalleled public transportation experience. Ask a local about the routes so you are taken exactly where you want to be.

No trip to Barbados is complete without a visit to the Mount Gay rum distillery located in Saint Michael Parish. Various samplings will make a rum lover out of anyone. Rum was actually discovered in Barbados.

Bridgetown (also in Saint Michael Parish) is the country’s capital and is on the southwest part of the island. Parliament is there, of course, but the Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison is a UNESCO World Heritage site and worthy of a visit. Interestingly, Barbados is the only place George Washington visited outside of the United States.

The East Coast has a completely different feel than the West Coast. There is a hip surfer culture developing here. It is one of the best-kept secret locations for surfing. Soup Bowl, as it is called, is just by the town of Bathsheba (Saint Joseph Parish). It is becoming legendary for its waves that rival Hawaii’s. The East is more rugged with stunning cliffs, not prime swimming area, in fact stay out of the water here because of dangerous rip tides, but it is breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring.

The South also has a different vibe to it. It has a lively night life and it is also a great place for water sports, including diving and boating.

As you drive inland, to get from one side of the island to the other, the tree sanctuaries and scenery will amaze you. While it may be a total touristy thing to do, if you’ve got time as you drive inland, visit Harrison’s Cave, a crystallized limestone cavern. It’s not a particularly cheap excursion, but it will provide a unique experience. It is located in Saint Thomas Parish.

Fuel Up

Barbados has incredible cuisine. Gourmet restaurants have been popping up around the island, marrying various cuisines with local twists. If you are craving a Beckta-type meal, there is no shortage of restaurant options. The West Coast, as you might imagine, caters to that palate. Try Champers and The Cliff or Cin Cin for upper-end eating. All three are phenomenal restaurants. Cin Cin has the most incredible surfside tables to boot.

While fine dining is definitely in order, some of the restaurants for authentic Bajan and incredible food are in rum shops. They are local, small restaurants that offer fresh fish, lamb, chicken, rice and bean dishes and fried plantain that is nothing short of divine. You can wash it all down with Banks beer (or homemade rum punch).

Make sure you hit Oistens in the South (Christ Church Parish) on a Friday night for its fish fry. It will redefine bbq fish for you. The flavours, the recipes and fish cooked to perfection make Oistens an absolute must. There are lots of tourists lurking about but ignore that fact and enjoy the experience.

Do not leave Barbados without visiting Cuz’s Fish Shack right by Carlisle Bay (by the Hilton Barbados Resort) in Bridgetown.

While on the East Coast, hit Atlantis Restaurant (Saint Joseph Parish). The view and food are incredible.


Saint Peter’s Bay Luxury Resorts and Villas on the West Side is a great option for families and those who want to share accommodations. They are luxury condos that even have their own Jacuzzi on a deck overlooking the ocean. Port Ferdinand, Saint Peter’s Bay’s sister resort, cranks up the upper high-end luxury factor and it too offers condo-type accommodations with service fit for royalty. In fact, royalty does stay there. There are of course all the major chains on the island as well. The Hilton has an incredible beach, as does the Fairmont.

On the East Coast, Atlantis hotel is more of an intimate location with spectacular views, but bear in mind you can’t swim in the ocean there.

Barbados is brimming with opportunities for everyone to have a good time. Bajans know how to have fun and you should join in. With perfect weather, perfect sunsets, sunrises, impeccable beaches, cuisine for every palate and lots of culture and history to feed the mind as well, you can’t go wrong in Barbados.


Auto Writer Hones Green Driving Skills on 2016 EcoRun

12:46 pm
Auto Writer Hones Green Driving Skills on 2016 EcoRun

The 2016 EcoRun wrapped up with closing speeches at Ottawa City Hall. Twenty-seven vehicles, minus my EV, made the journey from Toronto to the nation’s capital. (photo courtesy AJAC)

Closing speeches under the hot sun at Ottawa City Hall may sound enticing, but thanks to the whims of lithium-ion batteries, I had to settle for an hour of five-pin bowling.

My electric vehicle came up short on the final leg of AJAC’s annual EcoRun event – a rolling showcase of green vehicles touring from Toronto to the nation’s capital.

I sensed trouble upon entering the 401 in Brockville, when after five kilometres on the odometer (with the A/C on), my 125 km range plummeted by more than 20 clicks. Had some prankster engaged the parking brake or flipped on the heated rear seats?

Hmmm… it was 116 km to City Hall, and even at 103 to the hotel, I didn’t like my chances.

Switching off the accessories helped a little, but at normal highway speeds, my ride was gobbling electrons at a rate that meant I’d soon need a Plan B.

The EV finally forced my hand about 50 kilometers from Ottawa. With barely 30 left on the meter, I exited at the farming community of Kemptville where a fortuitous charging station at the bowling alley provided an ideal spot to kill time and score a mediocre 122.

Neil - bowling in Kemptville

My electric vehicle didn’t quite make it to Ottawa, but a few frames of five-pin bowling were a welcome alternative to closing speeches.

Okay, so I didn’t quite finish the 2016 EcoRun.

But no matter, as it isn’t really a competition. It’s an opportunity for Canadian journalists to test a range of eco-friendly vehicles back-to-back, while doing their best to drive green. This means being light on both the gas and brake, coasting towards red lights and staying at or near the speed limit. And making the most of regenerative braking for those driving hybrids.

No dangerous hypermiling techniques, like drafting transport trucks or driving 80 km/h on our 400-series highways. EcoRun is about real-world results – those achievable by average motorists, not those with a death wish.

And it features more than just pure electrics, hybrids and diesels. Conventional gas burners from automakers like Mazda, Honda, GM and Subaru are now extracting more from each drop of fuel without aid from turbo or electricity, proving one needn’t pay a premium to save on petrol.

All in, the 2016 EcoRun featured twenty-seven vehicles, spanning subcompacts to SUVs and trucks. Porsche even brought their iconic 911, which may have looked out of place until you consider its achievable fuel economy – averaging 7.8 litres/100 kilometres when driven in a very un-Porschelike way.

My seven vehicles represented a good cross section of this fleet, from the 1.0-litre Ford Focus to the 400-hp, seven seat Volvo XC90 SUV.

Here are a few highlights:

Mazda CX-3

Mazda CX-3 at Evergreen

Leg One of the 2016 EcoRun stopped at Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks. Seen here is the 2016 Mazda CX-3 compact crossover. Photo by Neil Moore.

On route to our first stop, Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks, I drove Mazda’s CX-3 compact crossover.

It employs the company’s fuel-saving SKYACTIV tech with a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four cylinder (146 hp, 146 lb/ft of torque). NRCan fuel ratings are 8.8/7.3 litres/100 km (city/hwy); our team of journalists scored a thriftier 6.4.

By the way, do yourself a favour and check out the historic brickworks at 550 Bayview Ave. This rehabilitated site, abandoned in 1984 after nearly a century of operation, is now an environmental hub with a farmer’s market on weekends (see Evergreen.ca for hours), urban art and an old brick factory with its original kilns.

Evergreen brick kilns

The historic Evergreen Brick Works, rehabilitated after nearly a century of operation, is home to the original kilns that once baked clay bricks at around 1,000 degrees Celsius. Photo by Neil Moore.

Subaru Impreza

Subaru at UOIT

Second stop of the 2016 EcoRun was at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Here, many automakers test their vehicles in UOIT’s climactic wind tunnel, as well as under heat lamps and other simulated adverse conditions. Photo by Neil Moore.

I fondly recall the second-generation Impreza – a googly-eyed compact with a punchy 2.5-litre boxer engine and low centre of gravity. It made about 170 hp (excellent for the early 2000s), but was thirsty.

Fast-forward to 2012 where Subaru swapped the 2.5 for a more fuel-efficient 2.0-litre four cylinder. Power dropped to 148 hp and 145 lb/ft (where it remains today), but Impreza now sips at a rated 8.5/6.4 litres per 100 km (city/hwy). We managed to do better, with a combined average of 6.1.

What’s even more impressive is the starting price of just under $20K for an AWD vehicle. My $31K tester, however, included Subaru’s EyeSight safety tech, which can stop the vehicle if it senses an impending crash. Thankfully, I didn’t require its services.

Ford Focus 1.0

Focus at Cobourg Pier

With only a 1.0-litre engine, this Ford Focus still has enough get-up-and-go for most drivers, along with thrifty fuel economy. Photo by Neil Moore.

This three-cylinder EcoBoost engine has a tiny displacement, but with a turbo it still manages a respectable 123 hp and 125 lb/ft of torque. Modest compared to the Focus RS that delivers an asphalt-ripping 350 horses, but this model is about sipping fuel, not guzzling it.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost is rated at 7.8/5.7/6.9 L/100km (city/hwy/comb), which we once again thrashed with an average of 5.8 litres combined.

Such thrift comes at the cost of performance, but there are other powertrains for those wanting more sizzle.

Lexus RX 450h

Lexus 450h at Cobourg Pier

The popular Lexus 450h hybrid can achieve compact car fuel economy if driven with a light foot. It is shown here at the scenic Cobourg waterfront. Photo by Neil Moore.

Large, luxurious and surprisingly fuel efficient, this hybrid version of Lexus’s popular mid-size crossover was a relaxing way to wrap up Day One. Starting at the scenic Cobourg waterfront, it averaged 7.6 L/100 km over the 91 kilometres to Belleville. Our group scored 7.1 L/100km overall.

NRCan rates the 3.5-litre V6 with electrics (net 308 hp) at a slightly higher 8.0 litres combined, but either way, it’s exceptional for a vehicle this size.

Volvo XC90 T8

Volvo XC90 - AJAC

It weighs about three tons and delivers 400 hp and 472 lb/ft of torque. Still, this full-size Volvo SUV sips fuel when driven carefully, thanks to a four-cylinder engine with turbocharger, supercharger and electric motor. Photo courtesy of AJAC.

Even more impressive were my Day 2 results from Volvo’s full-size, seven passenger SUV. Despite its three-ton curb weight and impressive 400 hp and 472 lb/ft of torque, I managed 3.8L/100 km from Belleville to Kingston.

That’s because the XC90 derives its V8-worthy power from a 2.0-litre four cylinder, aided by a turbocharger and supercharger (for 316 hp), along with an 87-hp electric motor.

Sure, it’s more fun to drive with a heavy foot, but I resisted the urge and made use of its 30 km of electric-only range. And for a change, bested my colleagues who averaged 5.9 L/100 km.

Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Allie Marsh from AJAC provides my Sonata Plug-In Hybrid with some added charge. This vehicle can provide up to 43 km of emissions-free driving. Photo by Neil Moore.

I’ve always believed plug-in hybrids to be the best eco option – so far. You can charge up for enough electric-only range to get around town, without the hassle of calling CAA when the battery runs dry.

This Hyundai is powered by a direct-injected 2.0-litre four cylinder with electric motor that provides enough juice for up to 43 km of emissions-free driving.

It wasn’t fully charged for my trip from Kingston to Brockville, yet I still averaged 4.7 L/100 km over the 84 km route. The team score on this one was 3.8.

I had a word with EcoRun co-chair David Miller, who assured me that overall, each of us outperformed the official NRCan numbers, with an average efficiency score of 133.2 per cent.

“It’s an incredible figure and one that can clearly be achieved by accelerating gently, anticipating traffic ahead, coasting to a stop and avoiding high speeds,” he added, proving that eco-friendly driving is as much about how you drive as what you drive.

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